BATMAN — ASCENDING KNIGHT
ONE: 12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)
Ooooh, it’s time for me to go down the One:12 Collective rabbit hole again!
I love a good toy, and there’s no denying that Mezco’s recent star-studded line of mixed-media 6 inch figures is full of some pretty darn good toys. Of course, they’re also pretty darn expensive toys, too, and I can’t really throw quite as much money at them as some people seem to be doing. Nevertheless, I’ve been looking at their offerings in little dribs and drabs here and there. Today, I look at another, and a fairly recent one at that. It’s Ascending Knight Batman!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ascending Knight Batman was released in the spring of this year, as part of Mezco’s One:12 Collective line. There have already been a handful of Bat-variants in the line (hey, the guy sells toys; can’t blame Mezco for cashing in on that), but he’s notable for being the first of the Batman figures to be a Mezco original design, albeit one inspired by outside elements. Like Greg Capullo’s Zero Year suit, the Ascending Knight is a re-imagining of Batman’s first appearance design, through a more modern lens. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.
Ascending Knight Batman continues the One:12 trend of two different heads with each release. The first is the more standard of the two, being your usual masked Batman, stern expression, piercing glare, and all. This is where the biggest Detective #27 influence comes in, mostly via the distinctive curved shaping of the ears. It’s sharp, it’s clean, and it’s super sleek. It’s also a very specific look, divergent from your basic Batman, which is honestly kind of refreshing. The paintwork is clean and bold, and I particularly like the super shiny sheen on the whites of the eyes. The second head gives us an unmasked look at Bruce Wayne. It goes for more of the suave debonaire sort of look, rather than the more battle-hardened appearance we’ve seen on other unmasked Waynes. It fits pretty well with the “early in his career” take that this figure is offering. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting something of a Jason Isaacs vibe from the head; not where my mind usually goes for Batman, but it works reasonably well for this particular figure. Like the masked head, this one has very clean application for the paint; I’m happy they’re keeping the molded flesh tones for most of these figures; it definitely gives them a more lifelike appearance.
Being from an earlier time in his career, this Batman is built on a smaller body than the previously-reviewed Dark Knight Returns version. I believe it’s the same basic body that was used on Space Ghost, though it’s a little hard to tell, since the costume doesn’t come off. Said costume is another mixed-media affair. The main body suit and cape are cloth, though neither is the straight spandex construction like on DKR Bats and Space Ghost. The body suit looks to have started that way, but there’s a rather complex overlay of rubberized painted elements, giving the suit a more kevlar-like-armored-appearance. It’s still all shades of grey, as it should be, but there’s an extra level of flavor added by this method. The cape is a heavy pleather piece. Apart from the material, it’s cut rather similarly to the DKR Batman. The pleather certainly looks cool, but its extra rigidity means it can be a little more difficult to work with when posing. The cloth parts of his costume are augmented by a healthy helping of sculpted plastic parts. The cape is held in place by a sculpted neck piece, which sits atop it, and helps create a better flow to the masked head when it’s in place. There’s a sculpted logo as well, which plugs into the front of his chest. It not only makes the logo stand out a bit more, but it also keeps the costume clinging a little closer to the torso. For his earliest appearances, Batman had a distinctly differently-styled utility belt, which has been translated to this figure’s belt, albeit with a more modernized twist, and tons of great little technical details. On the downside, the belt doesn’t seem to want to stay closed, at least on the figure I’m reviewing, so it comes loose fairly frequently. The costume is topped off with some swanky boots and gloves. The boots are interesting, as they’re standard combat boots, laces and all, but you can see where Bruce has slightly modified the very tops, giving them that distinctive peak that his boots always had; it’s a fun real-world touch. Perhaps the most distinctive and memorable part of the original Batman design, when compared to later iterations, are the gloves, which only went up to his wrists and were very definitely purple. This figure doesn’t have those. Instead, he gets sort of an amalgamated design, which still features the shorter appearance, but keeps the more traditional black coloring, as well as trowing in a par of the wrist blade/scallops he always had in later years. It’s a change that works a bit better with this incarnation of the costume, while still maintaining the overall spirit of the original.
Ascending Knight Batman is packed with a sizable selection of accessories. In addition to the previously mentioned unmasked head, he also includes seven interchangeable hands (in pairs of fists, open, and beatarang holding, as well as a right hand for his grappling gun), a grappling gun with fully retracted hooks, extend hooks, and a hook with a line attached to it, a small cross bolt of some sort, a bat-brass knuckles looking thing, a display stand (with flight attachment, and a set of armature for displaying the cape extended), and 10 batarangs. That’s quite an assortment. Admittedly, a lot of it’s stuff that seems more suited to being laid out as a cool armory display, and less suited to actual use with the figure. The hands are by far the most useful, and I can see the grappling gun getting a decent amount of use, especially with this design. The batarangs are definitely cool, but 10 of them almost seems excessive. But who am I to complain about getting *more* accessories? The cape attachment for the stand is fine if you want to just set this guy up in a free fall sort of display, but after spending about an hour fiddling with the one included with DKR Bats, I didn’t personally find the end results on this one to be worth the hassle. The option being present is certainly appreciated, though.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
After missing out on the DKR Batman and not having much interest in any of the DCEU-related offerings, this guy is really the first Mezco Batman to catch my eye. I’ve always been something of a sucker for the First Appearance Batman look, and this is undoubtedly a fun reimagining. I don’t know that I can say this figure quite has the same raw fun factor of the DKR Batman (that one set a seriously high bar to clear, believe me), but he does come pretty close.
Like the last One:12 Collective Batman I reviewed, this one’s not actually mine. He was loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys. If you’re interested in owning him for yourself, he can be purchased from their store front. And, if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.